Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diploma Discrepancies?

In the halls of New Trier in May, you can hear all the seniors anxiously discussing their last weeks of school and upcoming graduation. Graduation is almost a guarantee at New Trier... I have never heard of a student not receiving a diploma at New Trier and if someone did not, they would most likely be looked down upon by their upper class peers.
All this talk of graduation going on in our school right now got me thinking as to what graduation looks like for members of the lower class. Before doing some research, I thought that lower class students would be no where near the graduation rate of members of the middle and upper class; however, I was pleasantly surprised that this is not the case in some states.

In Kentucky and Texas, these lower class students have relatively the same high school graduation rate as privileged students. Kentucky has almost the same graduation rate between classes, for there is only a discrepancy of 1.4 percent between lower class and wealthy students. In Texas, the rate differentiates by 5.5 percent, which is still a relatively equal amount. 

While these states' statistics are promising, our nation still has a little ways to go before the high school graduation rates are equal for all classes. Minnesota, a state I used to live in, has a ridiculously high discrepancy between upper and lower class with a difference of 24.1 percent. In our nation, the average graduation rate for upper/middle class is about 88 percent, but for the lower class, it is around 73 percent. These two rates have a difference of 15 percent, which still shows a large discrepancy between the education different classes receive.

Race can be directly linked to this discrepancy, for the graduation rate for African American students in 2013 was 71 percent compared to 87 percent for whites. These two statistics are almost identical to the class statistics. Because of this, one can make the assumption that African Americans correspond to the lower class and whites correspond to the middle and upper class. The almost identical nature of these statistics shows that race often goes hand in hand with the class system in America today.

The United States is on track to having equal high school graduation rates between different classes, and the day this happens cannot come soon enough. Alma Powell, the chairwoman of America's Promise Alliance, says, "In America, education has always been seen as the pathway out of poverty... We have to do everything possible - inside and outside of our schools - to make the promise of America real for every child." Lower class citizens are currently lagging behind in terms of graduating high school, and this education is necessary for them to become middle class and generate more wealth. In my opinion, education is the key to lowering the amount of impoverished Americans, for educating them will give them opportunities in employment that will provide them with more money to live comfortably. Because of this, raising the graduation rates to make them equal is crucial and beneficial to many Americans.

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